Right before this day ends…

…an amazing musical find.

Rock Mannenough.

“The question has even been raised by the St. Petersburg Times about whether the I.R.S. might seek to claw back [Finn] Caspersen’s $30 million gift to Harvard Law School.”

Clawbacks, UD has come to know, ‘ardly hever ‘appen (to quote Eliza Doolittle), but it’s fun to watch universities who could have danced all night with Bernard Madoff (Yeshiva U.) or Finn Caspersen (Harvard) studiously avoid looking at their dance card when the financial shit hits the fan.

Caspersen, who a few years ago committed suicide with the feds on his tail, was able to afford the largest contribution in the history of Harvard Law School by allegedly hiding in Liechtenstein a hundred million or so of the tax dollars he owed us.

As American taxpayers, we’re able to help struggling non-profits in not one but two ways: tax exemption and tax evasion. What a good feeling.

It’s even better to know that the next generation of Harvard-affiliated Caspersens features a son just arrested at LaGuardia Airport (Caspersens really don’t like facing up to consequences) for defrauding investors (including charities) of $95 million through fake investments.

Madoff’s father was also a white-collar criminal. These father and son white collar criminal stories are always touching. They always make UD think of those wonderful Philippe Patek watch ads.

A headline that made UD laugh.

Trump-Hitler Roundup: Here’s Who Compared Donald Trump to Hitler This Weekend

Harper Lee…

… has died.

Details of her life – spent with her sister, who “practiced law in her 90s, and died in 2014 at 103” – here.

A Magazine Poem (Almost All of Its Words Are Taken from a Magazine Article) to Mark the Discovery of Gravitational Waves.


The motion of the wind in Hanford
Or of the ocean in Livingston
Or imperfections in the light
Through fluctuations in the grid…

The jittering of single atoms
Within mirrors
Or distant lightning storms…

Interferences beyond reckoning
In earth’s purest vacuum!

A trillionth as dense
As the atmosphere at sea
Yet somewhat undone by
Miniscule seismic tremors
Or passing cars
Or aeroplanes
Or wolves.


(In the style of Wallace Stevens.)

Trump’s Pick For …


Well, Rupert Murdoch looks younger than…

… Mick Jagger.

Despite the impassioned pleas of its last president…

George Washington University has now decided to revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree.

Our Poor Little Country

We can put a person on the moon, but we cannot figure out a way to revoke a medal.

In a July press conference, President Obama said he could not revoke the medal, which President George W. Bush awarded to Cosby in 2002. “There is no precedent for revoking the medal,” Obama said. “We don’t have the mechanism.”

But… Yes We Can. I just know we can.

For instance, here’s one possible mechanism which UD arrived at after hours of deep thought.

Send a letter from the President to Bill Cosby asking him to return the medal.

Here’s That Rainy Day

I fucked up on
Those leftover debts
But here’s that rainy day

Here’s that rainy day
They told me about
And I laughed at the thought
That it might turn out this way

Where is that Ponzi scheme
That I used to love
After it brought their cash so near

Funny how fraud becomes
A cold rainy day
That rainy day is here

Much of the Israeli Higher Education Establishment…

… has just been sued by Irving Picard – the guy in charge of returning swindled money to Bernie Madoff victims – for very large sums of said money.

Here’s the list:

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ($36 million)
Ben Gurion University of the Negev ($18 million)
Weizmann Institute ($13 million)
Bar Ilan University ($10 million)
Tel Aviv University ($6.5 million)
Technion Israel Institute of Technology

The universities’ response is, as you might expect, we didn’t know, we already spent it, fuck off.

But bulldog Picard, who has, since 2008, clawed back impressive amounts of Madoff’s billions, can be expected to sue hard, citing “unjust enrichment” laws (and after all, don’t most Israelis – most people – consider it axiomatic that art stolen during the Holocaust, for instance, has to be returned even if a particular owner is ignorant of the original theft? — “Holocaust-looted art bears a ‘mark of Cain’ which, under international law, infects all transactions relating to it, including transfers to third parties.”).

Picard also points out that the now-defunct charitable group that gave the Madoff money to these institutions (Picard is also suing this group) had financial as well as charitable motives:

Picard’s complaint in the court claims that the Horowitz Association did not transfer these huge sums only as a donation to encourage research in Israel; it chose to act as an investor with economic interests, and made receiving the money contingent on the provision of proceeds through royalties.

Picard notes that several other institutional beneficiaries of Madoff – Hadassah, for instance – immediately returned their Madoff money on learning that they harbored it.

By refusing to take the moral and respectable path, the [universities] associate themselves with the thief – Madoff – and not the victims.

Will the universities decide to settle some amount or other on the victims, in order to make this embarrassing lawsuit go away?



One Day in, and the University of Louisville Scandal is Already Generating Great Headlines.


“[Did] Salaita [do] her in, or was it the athletic scandals? Obviously athletics is far more important than academics…”

A commenter wonders which of Phyllis Wise’s many challenges and screw-ups might have pushed her recent appointment as University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chancellor over the edge. She has just announced her resignation.

UIUC certainly does know how to pick ’em. Let us not forget Richard Herman.


UD thanks Wendy.


Here’s what UD considers an appropriate headline for Wise’s departure, highlighting her main accomplishment:

Nike Board Member Phyllis Wise Resigns as Illinois Chancellor

“Ingham then mocked the man for attending Mary Washington College, once an all-women’s school …”

Whew! Just in time. UD was madly enjoying reading this story, and wanted to share it with you, but wasn’t finding any connection to universities until, toward the end of the piece, bingo!


A medical ethicist at Northwestern University has a great comment:

[This was] a cheap excuse to have a laugh at a powerless person’s expense.

UD has long been interested in the theme of cruelty. This story seems to her a very pure instance of the phenomenon of cruelty.

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